Staf is Scotland’s national membership organisation for all of those involved in the lives of young people leaving care. Our vision is that the wellbeing and success of young people leaving care across Scotland is indistinguishable from that of theirs peers in the general population. In everything we do we live our values: We Listen, We Care, We Love.

How Staf Started

Staf was established in 1998 in response to the overwhelming concerns that frontline practitioners and managers had about the major difficulties care-experienced young people faced during their fragile transition to adulthood and independent living.

The introduction of a membership subscription scheme in 2002 enabled Staf to bring together organisations, practitioners and managers from across the public, voluntary, and private sectors to work together to improve the life chances for all of Scotland's care-experienced young people. Staf now represents over 70 diverse members.

Find out more about becoming a member

What we do

We strive towards our collective vision of a Scotland where the wellbeing and success of young people leaving care across Scotland is indistinguishable from that of their peers in the general population. We have recently launched a new three-year strategy where you can find out more about how we seek to make this a reality.

Our work focuses on four key pillars:

1. Influence policy and practice

  • We run dedicated quarterly focus groups on continuing care, employment for care leavers, and supported lodgings. These are all free to attend for Staf members and give you the opportunity to engage with colleagues across Scotland, as well as The Scottish Government
  • We have recently set up a Policy Engagement Group to ensure the voice of our members is at the heart of all of our policy output: from blogs, to government consultation responses, and wider influencing work
  • Staf has representation on a range of committees, including the Love Working Group of The Independent Care Review, The Scottish Government’s Secure Care Group, and the National Steering Group on Trauma Training; we additionally form part of the steering group for an International Child Trauma conference in 2020 with Dr Bruce Perry

2. Creating platforms for care leaver and practitioners’ voice

  • We have launched a national project called Project Return, supporting care-experienced people, and workers, to create meaningful and transformational change in how we understand trauma in the care system
  • In conjunction with the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ), we are working to amplify the voices of care and justice-experienced young people, with our Youth Justice Voices project well underway
  • We are designing and delivering a tool which supports the prioritisation and bench-marking of relationship-based, collaborative practice as part of our ‘Building Relationships’ project and have recently supported our Youth Facilitator, Shannon Brown, to realise her dream – with the launch of Shannon’s Box in East Ayrshire Council to support young people entering care

3. Encouraging networking and collaboration to increase good practice

  • We have introduced local authority members’ forums to provide a specific and safe place to discuss practice in relation to the statutory responsibilities of delivering services for care leavers – free for all local authority managers
  • In 2019, we have hosted two care inspectorate roundtables, free and exclusive to Staf members
  • The Staf Enquiries service enables any member to contact us regarding practice issues, which we can then share with our broad membership, connecting you with colleagues to improve practice

4. Delivering learning and development opportunities

  • We offer bespoke training and consultancy work tailored to your organisational needs on areas such as: working with care-experienced young people; trauma-informed practice; trauma and stress management; and leadership training
  • We run national conferences and training events each year, with discounts available to members – this year, we have delivered a full-day’s training session with Dr Karen Treisman on trauma-informed organisational change, and welcomed Tony Bloemendaal and Dr Roland Verdouw, both of Dr Bruce Perry’s ChildTrauma Academy, to Scotland to provide insight into workforce wellbeing and trauma-sensitive care
  • Our Building Relationships project is developing tools to enable and empower you to improve relationship-based practice in your organisations and communities

Find out more about becoming a member